14 April 2024


Third Sunday of Easter

Luke 24:36b-48/24:35-47 IV

Easter People Believe

Additional Scriptures
Psalm 4; Acts 3:12-19; 1 John 3:1-7;
Doctrine and Covenants 162:7d

Refer to Toronto Center Place, online church, for a list of hymns available on YouTube. This might provide accompaniment for hymns.

For the Focus Moment, secure a copy of the storybook, Lily and the Paper Man, by Rebecca Upjohn, Second Story Press, ISBN 978-1-897187-19-7.

For Collage as Spiritual Practice, prepare materials—poster paper or art journal or card stock; pictures from magazines, calendars, postcards; glue or paste, scissors, markers, crayons, colored pencils. Consider setting up craft stations around the worship space.



Hymn of Praise
Use the vocal recording found on Community of Christ Sings Audio Recordings, available from HeraldHouse.org, to lead the singing.

“Mfurahini, Haleluya/Christ Has Arisen, Alleluia”
CCS 471

OR “Celebrate, Jesus, Celebrate”
CCS 474
Encourage participants to sing in languages other than their own.

Call to Worship
Christ is risen! Thus, we believe that God is God of life, not of death. By faith we share in eternal life even now. In Christ, God’s love finally will overcome all that demeans and degrades the creation even death itself. Easter also gives us hope that the tragic suffering and death of victims, throughout history, is not the last word. We believe the Holy Spirit will transform all creation to share in the glory of God.

“We Share Basic Beliefs,” Sharing in Community of Christ,
HeraldHouse.org, p. 38

Today, our focus is on how we, as Easter People, believe and share our witness with our world.

“Good Christians All, Rejoice”
CCS 479

OR “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” without the optional ending
CCS 457



Prayer for Peace
Light the Peace Candle.

Spirit of revelation,
Show us the way to peace! People are dying unnecessarily. Suffering continues despite our best efforts. Lives are cut short by violence, greed, neglect, hunger, and unexplainable suffering. The list is endless. It is tempting to turn away. Open our eyes, just as the disciples’ eyes were opened to the risen Jesus!

Open our hearts, that we would stay soft and stay with the brokenhearted, just as the women stayed at the cross. Open our hands to continue the work of pursuing peace. Though the work is hard, it brings us closer to you and to one another. And in that closeness, we find strength.

In the name of Jesus, who is always close. Amen.

—Tiffany and Caleb Brian

Scripture Reading: Luke 24:36b-48

Ministry of Music OR Congregational Hymn
“Blessed Is the Body and the Soul”
CCS 238

OR “Tenderly, Tenderly, Lead Thou Me On”
CCS 256

Focus Moment
Read the children’s storybook, Lily and the Paper Man, by Rebecca Upjohn. This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of one girl’s encounter with the existence of homelessness and poverty and how she makes a positive difference in the life of one person she encounters. We are reminded that our world needs generosity and compassion.

OR Move directly to the Creative Activity.

Creative Activity
Say: When I look around at the world and see so many people hurt and suffering, I wish that there was a way we could spread more love. So, today, I need your help! I need you to put on your inventor caps and dream about creating something—a tool, a machine, a hero, a toy, whatever you want—that will help spread love in the world.

Allow participants time to think of and share their ideas. Really allow them to be creative, don’t put boundaries or restrictions on their imaginations.

Say: Wow! Your creations are all such wonderful ways to share love with the world. Do you want to know something pretty cool? God has also created a way to share love with the world. Does anyone have a guess at what God created? God created you to share love with the world. Just like each of the inventions you came up with shared love in a different way, each of us is called to share love in a different way.

Today’s scripture reminds us just how much God loves us. When we feel that love, we can’t help but share it with the world!

—Sacred Space, Year B, third Sunday of Easter

Proclamation of the Word


Based on Luke 24:36b-48


Disciples’ Generous Response
Scripture Reading: Doctrine and Covenants 162:7d

During Disciples’ Generous Response, we focus on aligning our heart with God’s heart. Our offerings are more than meeting budgets or funding mission. Through our offerings we can join in making God’s work visible in the world.  

As we share our mission tithes either by placing money in the plates or through eTithing, use this time to thank God for the many gifts received in life. Our hearts grow aligned with God’s when we gratefully receive and faithfully respond by living Christ’s mission. 

If your congregation is meeting online, remind participants they can give through CofChrist.org/give or eTithing.org (consider showing these URLs on screen).

Blessing and Receiving of Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes

Ministry of Music Video: “Welcome Jesus, You are Welcome,” CCS 277, Youtube.com/watch?v=uid-lf2RbI0, to be played as the offering is received.

Collage as Spiritual Practice
Invite those present to gather at craft stations. As you consider those present, choose to invite each to make their own collage or, as a group, create a poster-board collage. Consider playing meditative music as the collages are made.

Share these thoughts to prompt those who will creating collages:

  1. Today, the theme of our collages will be “Easter People Believe.”
  2. Before you begin, spend a few moments in stillness. Take deep breaths and invite the Spirit to sit with you and inspire you. This creative process is a prayer, and yet we do not need our words to commune with God. Open yourself to whatever wisdom or blessings you receive, focusing on the theme of “Easter People Believe.”
  3. Begin with a clean sheet of paper. It’s up to you how you fill that page. You can sketch or doodle randomly, splash bold colors on it, or cover it with images from a magazine—anything that feels right for you.
  4. If you choose to collage, peruse a few magazines. Don’t look for specific images or words. Instead, pick whatever inspires you in this moment. It might be photos, random words, or a combination.
  5. Once ready, begin gluing them on the page in an arrangement that feels right.
  6. When done, sit back and reflect on what is on the page. Some of the images might surprise you. There might be themes you didn’t expect would emerge. There might be combinations of photos that communicate something. Be open to whatever is received.

Once the collage pictures or poster are completed, invite brief sharing of the completed work with others. Make provision for posting the collages near the exit of the worship space. Leave these up for the next two services.

“Lord Jesus, of You I Will Sing/Jésus, je voudrais to chanter”
CCS 556/557
Encourage participants to sing in a language other than their own.

OR “I Wish God’s Love to Be with You”
CCS 663


Sending Forth
The resurrected Jesus appears to disciples, turning their fear to joy and their disbelief to wonder. Jesus’s appearance comforts and reassures them and us that it is always God’s intention to bring peace, love, compassion, grace, and mercy to a sinful world. And through our witness of Christ’s presence among us, may it be so!

Ask participants to post their collages in the space provided as they exit the worship space.


Year B—Letters
Third Sunday of Easter

Luke 24:36b-48/24:35-47 IV

Exploring the Scripture
In the scripture passages for today, there is the great theme that God’s faithful presence continues in Jesus’ resurrection. The author, Luke, clearly presents the resurrected Jesus as one who has a physical body and walks, talks, and eats. This idea alone asks us to open our minds to accept the idea that in and through Christ something is new and different. There are possibilities we have not considered or fathomed. We are invited to explore our faith journey.

In this passage, Jesus has been crucified and the rumors of people seeing him are moving fast through towns and cities. His followers are hearing rumors of his being alive and they don’t understand. How can Jesus be seen walking here and there? Is he a ghost or spirit? They want to believe he is alive, but it just doesn’t make sense to them.

When Jesus appears to his disciples, he recognizes their fears and says to them: “Peace be with you” (Luke 24:36b). And then he addresses each source of their doubts and fears. He extends his hands and feet for them to see the scars, he invites them to touch him, and he asks for food and eats fish. With each of these actions the disciple’s fears are receding.

Now that fear and doubt are lessened, the disciples sit down with Jesus for scripture study. They have a new frame of reference to hear scripture—the resurrection. There is life after death. And there is new life now, through Jesus. The scriptures are being heard through hearts that have experienced the risen Messiah. The words of the prophets are fulfilled!

Jesus then renewed the disciples’ call to discipleship when he told them they “are witnesses of these things” (v. 48). What they experienced is not for them alone, but the message is to be proclaimed to all nations.

This message of hope is ours today. God continues to be present in our lives, through our fears and doubts, as we open our minds and hearts to receive resurrection.

Central Ideas

  1. God continues to be present in our lives even when we have doubts and fears.
  2. When we can set aside our fears, we can hear and receive scripture in ways that bring new understanding.
  3. We are called to be the messengers of repentance, forgiveness, and resurrection.

Questions for the Speaker

  1. When have fears and doubts kept you from recognizing the Holy Spirit moving in your life?
  2. How have you experienced or witnessed resurrection?
  3. Where do you see others engaging in acts of resurrection (bringing hope to the hopeless)?


Year B Letters

Third Sunday of Easter

1 John 3:1–7 NRSVUE


Today is the third Sunday of the Easter season. The Easter season lasts fifty days and concludes with the Day of Pentecost.

Prayer for Peace
Ring a bell or chime three times slowly.
Light the peace candle.

Creator God, we come to this place to worship you, but we also come to find peace. Open our hearts to you. Still our spirits and free our minds to hear your voice. May this flame of peace warm each of us to your spirit of blessing, to your calming presence, and to your healing love. May this sacred time together prepare us to be peacemakers in our homes, schools, workplaces, cities, countries, and world. Make us one, loving God, through your peace. Amen.

Spiritual Practice

Centering Prayer

Centering prayer is a method of meditation used by Christians to sit in silence with God. This prayer helps us experience God’s presence within us.

This Easter Day we will focus on the word rejoice.

Slowly read the following instructions:
Sit with relaxed posture and close your eyes. We will spend three minutes in centering prayer.
Breathe in a regular, natural rhythm. As you breathe in and out, say the word rejoice in your mind.
Breathe in and out, focusing only on your word.
When we are done, we will sit for two minutes in silence, eyes closed, listening to the silence.
When time is up, share these closing instructions:
Offer a brief word of thanks to God, take a deep breath, and open your eyes when you are ready.

Sharing Around the Table
1 John 3:1–7 NRSVUE

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.

Have you ever heard a conversation in a language you did not understand? If those in conversation are glancing in your direction, a suspicion arises: “I wonder what they are saying about me?” Here lies the breakdown of international relations!

From this perspective we might understand the situation of the early Christians in a culture that was emerging from within a culture. This emergence was quite foreign to the larger culture. These followers of The Way were being misunderstood by their neighbors, and John was trying to tell them something about this new way of living.

First, do not doubt that we are children of God. Even if others do not understand it, we can be assured that we are living in the household of God in Christ. John said that the others would know when Christ is revealed. This can be interpreted two ways. One, Christ will be revealed in the Second Coming, the time that is in the future when Jesus will return from the clouds. Or two, Christ will be revealed to the community in the second coming that happens each time a disciple shares with someone who then is open to the Holy Spirit, thus beginning the journey of discipleship themselves.

John was careful to make sure this witness was pure in his frank talk about sin. He assured the reader that salvation has come, and it is ours. To be effective in that state of grace, we must not be lawless; we must avoid sin. John was not naïve though. He understood the pernicious nature of sin and how it wheedles into a person’s life. His warning was poignant.

There is a popular thought among many Christians that the world is evil and must be endured; that the spirit is eternal and just needs to get through this physical experience to obtain eternal bliss. This is not Community of Christ theology. Community of Christ holds that God created all things good, and that all things are sacred.

The soul of a human is body and spirit. The dualism of the theology that holds the world is evil and the spirit is good was dealt with in the first couple of centuries of the Christian Era. It was called Gnosticism. Several scripture texts have been interpreted corruptly to bolster this heresy, and this text from 1 John could be one of them.

Jesus was transparent in his ministry. There was a certain degree of mystery involved, but like overhearing a conversation in an unknown language, the hearer can know the truth about the speaker’s intentions by seeing their actions. John points this out by saying that the righteous act righteously. Your deeds speak louder than your words.


  1. When have you shared an experience that hearers could not understand because they did not have the context of experience?
  2. Have you ever been brought up short in your assessment of someone when their actions contradicted your assessment?
  3. Have you ever felt disconnected from the world?
  4. A unique ability of the human condition is the ability to “step outside of ourselves” to look at ourselves and the world with new eyes. This is the foundation of repentance. How have you been able to do this? How have sacraments or spiritual practices aided your capacity to do this?


Generosity Statement

Beloved Community of Christ, do not just speak and sing of Zion. Live, love, and share as Zion: those who strive to be visibly one in Christ, among whom there are no poor or oppressed.

—Doctrine and Covenants 165:6a

The offering basket is available if you would like to support ongoing, small-group ministries as part of your generous response.

This offering prayer for the Easter season is adapted from A Disciple’s Generous Response:

God of rejoicing, we share our gifts joyfully and with thanksgiving in response to the generous gifts you have given us. May the offerings we share bring joy, hope, love, and peace into the lives of others so they might experience your mercy and grace. Amen.

Invitation to Next Meeting

Closing Hymn
Community of Christ Sings 229, “When We Are Called to Sing”

Closing Prayer

Optional Additions Depending on Group
• Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
• Thoughts for Children

Thoughts for Children

You will need:
• Piece of paper
• Coloring supplies

Say: When I look at the world and see so many people hurt and suffering, I wish we could spread more love. So, today, I need your help! I need you to put on your inventor caps and create something—a tool, a machine, a hero, a toy, whatever you want—that will help spread love in the world. We won’t have long to work on our creations, so don’t worry about making it perfect. Write or draw your creation on the blank piece of paper I give you.

Allow participants time to create and share their inventions. Allow them to be creative; don’t put boundaries or restrictions on their imaginations.

Say: Wow! Your creations are all such wonderful ways to share love with the world. Do you want to know something pretty cool? God also has created a way to share love with the world. Does anyone have a guess at what God created? God created you to share love with the world. Just like each invention you came up with shared love in a different way, each of us is called to share love in a different way.

Today’s scripture reminds us how much God loves us. When we feel that love, we can’t help but share it with the world!

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